Recently Retired CPA

by Ira
(Oradell, NJ)

I am a recent retiree ( 62 1/2 ) after working at a large regional CPA firm in NYC which was a highly stressful place ( tax season and off tax season). I was at the firm for about 20 years.

I suffered career burnout probably starting about 3 years ago but didn't realize the severity of it. The past two years were horrible. Motivation and performance suffered over this two year period. I lost interest in what I was doing and was constantly anxious and depressed.

It got to the point where I went on short term disability because of severe anxiety which stemmed from career burnout, tried working PT after that at the firm , but nothing seemed to work. I finally decided to follow my gut instinct which was telling me that I had had it with the field and that vacations or any time away would not help.

Decided to resign / retire about 2 1/2 years early ( instead of 65). I couldnt take it anymore. I retired for health reasons.

Summertime will be fine but am concerned about what I will do come fall / winter and going forward.

Haven't decided whether I wanted to look for a smaller CPA firm closer to home or just look for some volunteering.

The lack of decision is driving me crazy and I toss around at night. I literally do not know what I want to do. As of now, public accounting is out. Maybe my mind will change in a month or so.

Any suggestions or has anyone been in a similar situation?

Comments for Recently Retired CPA

Click here to add your own comments

Any Interest?
by: Kaila / hawaii

Hi Ira, I read through your chat and saw a few suggestions on finding a small business for part time work or as an advisor? I'd greatly appreciate any retired CPA's wealth of knowledge for a project. Hope you are enjoying retirement :) Best - "small company that could use your service on a part time basis"

In search of a retired accountant!
by: Jill - Philadelphia suburbs

I am a firm administrator for a 25 person accounting firm in the Philadelphia suburbs. I am SEARCHING for a retired accountant who wants to prepare high net worth 1040 tax returns. Could be part time, full time, tax season, I'm open to all schedules. If anyone has interest please reply to me here! Thanks!!

I'm a retired CPA and so much more
by: Michael D. Bell Venice Florida

I am a retired CPA. I worked in government accounting and retired at 51. My decision to retire was due in part to my spouse being older and wanting to retire at 60.

We retired, and moved to Venice, Florida. Knowing that riding my bike and watching paint dry would only go so far, I got my real estate license and am affiliated with CENTURY 21 in Venice, Florida.

I spend eight months of the year in Florida (October to May) and 4 months in the Catskill Mountains of New York (June to September.)

CPAs are very analytical. Your skills could be used in volunteer positions. SCORE volunteers help businesses. United Way volunteers offer free tax help.

Or, if you want a job, why not change careers and get a job in a field that you always found interesting? Or, use your accounting background to get an accounting job in a less stressful environment (government, school, hospital, etc.)

Also, your local college or university might have a tutoring department where you could work or volunteer.

I've found the worst part of retirement is that I have all of this extra time to fill, and I'm not necessarily working towards anything specific. You have to set your own schedule and make your own goals.

My three favorite questions that might help you are to ask yourself - What have I not done? What have I not seen? Who have I not been?

Maybe the answer to those questions will give you some direction.

Good luck and let us know how you are doing.

Response to: Recently Retired
by: Ken San Diego


I have been an Accountant right out of college, and for most of my career, I was working with Doctors! So I know the stress levels are enormous.

I semi retired early, age 58 then was asked to work for my friend's Medical Equipment Company as their Accounting Manager.. part time.. so I continued to work another 8 yrs doing that .. 2 yrs ago, I retired entirely!

First 4 months I took it easy, but then realized I needed something to do at least 2 or 3 times a week, after the first year, I thought ...that I should get a part time job...MANY JOBS are available in Accounting, but after reading the job descriptions, I asked myself "Do I want to keep doing that? My answer: HELL NO ... So I plan trips in advance so I have something to look forward to.

(Cross country train trips, trips overseas (Thailand) where I have a condo.. and weekly trips to LA or San Juan Capistrano, via train just for lunch or dinner!


Call me crispy
by: Laura in Vermont

I've been in my job for 27 years, and it gets very stressful as we're understaffed at times, like when one goes on vacation or gets sick. My hobbies at home get me by but I am really looking forward to next July when I can have Medicare and quit. Right now I'm just in it for the insurance!

If you are burned out from accounting, let yourself get over that before trying it again. Or think about doing something else with your skills if you really want to get back to work for a while.

Try new things out as a hobby or a temporary volunteer gig. You might find you like something you never thought of before.

Also Accountant
by: Jane

Hi Ira:
I understand your dilema. I am a CPA and Enrolled Agent with a small practice. CPA firms are very exhausting. I worked for them before I married my husband and my son.

I have my own little practice with a few hundred clients and do some bookkeeping during the year. I am the boss so I can take as many clients as I want, work as long on a client, etc. I enjoy the off season with hobbies. I also work as a volunteer for AARP helping low income tax clients.

I am 58. It is good for socialization. There is ALOT less stress doing this if you have other sources of income.

by: plp green bay

I assume you are financially fine. With your background, you can easily work part-time tax season. I work part-time at HR Block but you can work for anyone or even yourself. Use your expertise and meet people in the coldest months! You will realize soon how nice it is to not "punch" a clock or timesheets, etc. Just a suggestion.

It's tough
by: Doris

I, too, had a stressful job in NYC helping run a major law firm. I moved out of state after my boss and I both retired and have had a really difficult time adjusting. It is tough.

While we are no longer involved in running the firm he kept me on and I work from home and assist him with his philanthropic endeavors. Perhaps if you could do some work from home in your field - becomes tax consultant, etc., or volunteer your knowledge and services to other retirees, it might be helpful.

I find that connection with friends in NY has kept me from going nuts.

Good luck!

Recently Retired
by: Ned

consider your self lucky in realizing it was time to retire

I also retired at 62 just being worn out and had a whole bucket full of things we wanted to do. have done a few but most have not become as important.

I had been involved with several organizations which continued and a few became more involved with also found a part time job in a totally unrelated field that became more interesting than a necessity.

if still interested in the CPA field, might look for a small company that could use your service on a part time basis . the extra money is always nice to do some thing special with over and beyond the normal expenses

It seems a lot harder to make friends out side of the organizations these days. times sure have changed used to know almost every one in our block and had a annual block party but with new neighbors coming in this has changed. no one wants to take the time to organize it any more. people that have moved next door are not as sociable as they once were. guess we can charge that up to the changing times.

I wake up every morning with objective for the day and look for many more good days .

retired at 62 and now 82 and still have that bucket list LOL not as much in it any more and lots of things have been tossed out as they had not become as important as they seemed when we put them in .

Good Luck think positive and enjoy every day!

by: Ira

yea, its been about a month now. we spent two weeks ( different weeks) at the Jersey shore, I have done some biking, hiking and reading in between with time at the gym.

I am probably putting too much pressure on myself to figure things out immediately.

Job Burnout
by: Wendy,

First time I've seen that term on this site... I started to write about it and thought maybe that was not happening, but I know darn well it certainly is.

Give yourself time to grieve the loss of your CPA employment - there is no rush to jump back into work.

You probably have a bit of anxiety -- job burnout, retirement, decisions whirling about in your mind.

Breathe! Enjoy the silence or put some soft music on. Enjoy the serenity of life...

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Write Your Own Story Here (others can provide feedback).